Pringles is back in the Big Game for the third year running, this time with the help of everyone’s favorite animated and irreverent sci-fi adventuring duo: Rick and Morty.
The collaborative spot with Adult Swim will continue the theme of flavor stacking—nesting different chip flavors on top of one another to create new combinations—from the cylindrically-contained chip brand.
“We knew we could have so much fun with that message in a very authentic way,” said Jill King, svp of marketing and partnerships at Adult Swim.
The Super Bowl appearance will kick off a yearlong partnership between the two brands which will include special edition Rick and Morty flavors and experiential components. For those who haven’t seen the show, the basic premise is this: Rick, an alcoholic, sociopathic mad scientist moves in with his daughter’s family and uses his wholesome grandson, Morty, as a sidekick through a myriad of intergalactic adventures. The show has won several awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program in 2018.
According to Pringles senior marketing director Gareth Maguire, it’s the show’s quirkiness that makes the Rick and Morty partnership a natural, and buzzy one with social chatter on Twitter.
“They’re clearly fun, very playful, and I see that as a great overlap with the Pringles brand,” said Maguire, who just acquired a pair of Pickle Rick socks. “We’ve got a lot to benefit from with the Rick and Morty fanbase.” (There are even Pickle Rick holiday sweaters available.)
King added Adult Swim is very “judicious” and “thoughtful” when entering into partnerships for Rick and Morty. Partner brands have to respect the show and its fans enough to let Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, the show’s creators, have the creative freedom necessary to make something that achieves the goals of the partnership while being “authentic and additive.”
“A lot of brands want to partner but aren’t willing to give up creative control to creators,” King said. “Pringles just got it.”
“Having them create the spot with our input means that it really does feel like it could have been in one of the episodes,” said Maguire. “It was really a Rick and Morty spot featuring Pringles. I think fans will really appreciate it.”
Accompanying the spot, Pringles will release a special edition, Rick and Morty-inspired flavor that pays homage to Pickle Rick—an episode in which mad scientist Rick turns himself into a pickle to avoid family therapy. (“Pickle Rick is bananas,” described Maguire.) And, the collaboration will be followed up by two other yet-to-be-announced Rick and Morty-inspired flavors to be released later in the year.
The 30-second spot for Super Bowl LIV is created by Adult Swim in partnership with Grey Group, which also produced the brand’s last two Super Bowl ads, and will air in the second quarter. The campaign will live on digital and social and include product sampling, ecommerce and PR. The spot kicks off a yearlong partnership that’ll involve experiential components like the Rickmobile—a traveling touring truck shaped like a giant Rick—as well as an appearance at the San Diego Comic Con.
Previous Pringles ad also centered on “flavor stacking” but featured different guest appearances. In last year’s spot, an Alexa-like voice assistant had an existential crisis after realizing that it wouldn’t be able to taste any of the thousands of flavor combo possibilities. The year before that, comedian Bill Hader’s mind was blown by a jalapeño-barbecue-pizza stack in Pringles’ Super Bowl debut.
Pringles is the second Kellogg’s brand to announce a Super Bowl LIV spot, joining its sweeter sibling, Pop-Tarts.
See continuing coverage of all the commercials in the Big Game in our Super Bowl ad tracker.